The Smell of Routine

There are definite benefits to being in a loving relationship for a long time.  One being that when something embarrassing comes up, its no big deal; in fact it can be quite a relief.  After a few decades you would think that this kind of thing would disappear or at least lessen in frequency, this is apparently not the case.


Sometimes this kind of thing is revealed due to a change in routine. 


Like most people I have a routine that I follow when I get home from work.  The routine changes, of course, depending upon the expected activities that night, and how late I get home from work.  Usually I follow the same routine every day.  Since I get home about an hour before my wife, I try to get some chores out of the way so she won’t do them. That sounds rather selfless but it’s not that way at all.  I clean and straighten so I do not have to see my wife doing so.  She is a wonderful person and I love her more than life itself, however, I can never tell when cleaning will turn into a stress relieving exercise.  Her work is intrinsically stressful, so violent and manic cleaning periodically occurs.  This scares me to death; it’s in my best interest to clean before she comes home.  Also I do not do as nearly as good a job as she does, my cleaning just delays real cleaning until the weekend.  This is ok; by Saturday her work related stress has mostly diminished. 


The other day I got home and cleaned and straightened as usual, when my wife got home from work I could tell that she had a stressful day; it’s in the way she walks.  The first thing she says upon entering the house is “What is that god-awful smell?  Its like something died in here” I am not offended, I do not smell anything wrong.  We sniff around and pull back the furniture looking for something that the cats may have brought in.  Maybe they lost interest in a bird and left it for cat aromatherapy.  We didn’t find anything. 


The next day I came home and checked again.  I also got out the Fabreze in a vain attempt to mask the smell that I still can not sense.  When she came home even the mighty stink fighting power of the Fabreze limited edition pine and snow sent couldn’t hide the alleged stench my wife smelled.  As soon as she opened the door she says “We have got to find that smell it’s disgusting”. 


I of course try to blame it on my son’s chicken.


He has a routine as well, he gets home from school and microwaves himself a generous helping of boneless Buffalo wings, I find that smell offensive so I suggested it to be a serious contender for the mystery stink.  “Oh, no, it’s not chicken; it’s something dead or rotten”. Shot my theory all to hell.


On the third day I had to work late.  I got home only moments before my wife. For once she didn’t say anything about the smell.  Then I took off my work boots.  I could tell immediately that I hit upon something.  I picked them up and walked over to my lovely wife and said “Is this it?”




To say that she was disgusted with my boots, and by extension my feet, is an understatement.  My Boots went into the garage right next to the cat litter box which my wife informed me smelled like a bed of roses in comparison.


Now that we have been married for many years this kind of thing doesn’t even faze me. I took no offence what so ever.  Back when we were dating or newly engaged this could have been a devastating blow to our relationship.  She would have had to make some hard decisions in regards to the fitness of her new suitor.  But now that we have dozens of years behind us my first thought was to ask her to remind me to pick up some new odor eaters for my boots.


It’s comforting to experience embarrassing little moments like these.  It reminds me that I am loved even with stinky boots.  It also reminds me that, every once in a while, it’s best to break from routine. 


It makes me wonder if Santa used to have serious issues with stockings back in the days when people used to actually wear them.  Did their good status suddenly change if they didn’t wash their stockings before hanging them up with care?  Would coal make a good deodorizer?  Is that carbon filters got their start? 


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